In the midpoint of our second night we ran into some trouble half way through Arkansas. One of his front wheel bearings was making a loud squeal and showed signs of not being able to hold up much longer. I wondered the significance of a second wheel bearing going bad on this leg of my journey. Fortunately, we happened upon an all night truck stop having a garage which could affect a repair. Unfortunately this dipped into Rick’s cash reserves to the extent that we might not have enough money for gas. After getting under way, I pondered a solution. One that sprang forward was a tinge illegal but seemed workable. I suggested that in the morning we go into a small county seat so I could apply for food stamps. We could show the cooking facilities in Rick’s truck as home. If this worked, I would barter the stamps for gas, not quite what they were intended for, but a possible way out.
Before morning we pulled into the town square in Huntsville, Alabama. Rick slept in back, I dozed in the cab. Warmth and bustle of mid morning woke me and I found the Food Stamp office across the square. Leaving Rick to his slumber, I went over and began the process of applying for food aid. The woman handling my case was friendly and quite willing to accept my story of living in a camper. Apparently that was not unheard of in these parts and she did not even ask to inspect my facilities. However, she did ask where I was camping. There happened to be a large scale map of the county posted on the wall in her office. Upon hearing her question I leapt up and peering at the map, hastily pointed to the location of my fictitious campsite. She looked where I was pointing and quickly stated,” Oh, that’s Lester’s property. He shoots folks who trespass out there.” Immediately, I rescinded my request for stamps and announced, “Wow, then I guess I better be leaving this county and heading back north.” She agreed that would be a good idea. I returned to give Rick the flat news of my failure to scam food stamps.
After a few moments Rick hatched a scam of his own. He had been holding a quantity of “Black Beauties,” a form of speed that was popular with truck drivers. He figured on heading over to the nearest truck stop and dealing enough of these to gain gas money. I felt bad he had to part with his stash and I was not able to help. However, we drove to a nearby trucker’s haven and it took him no time to find a willing customer. Before long we headed out to finish the last leg of our cross country dash.